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3Sixty

Natural Beauty

All around us are magnificent natural wonders to be discovered, protected and preserved for generations to come.

Words: Efi Eqbal   Image: Corbis, Inmagine & Getty Images

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Australia,Tasman Sea,Lord Howe Island,Aerial of Lord

Photo from Inmagine

LORD HOWE ISLAND

Tasman Sea, Australia

This pristine and beautiful island is one of the very few accessible places on Earth that has been left mostly untouched. This small island of 14.55 square kilometres in area size is home to less than 500 residents, and the number of visitors allowed each year is limited to 400 only. This is to protect its natural landscape, as well as its stunning crystalline lagoons and coral reefs. Facilities are limited and there is no public transport available, as the island is small enough to discover by foot. A holiday here is a real case of getting away from it all, as there’s also no mobile phone coverage! But, never fear, public telephones, fax facilities and Internet access are available at the luxury apartments here. www.lordhoweisland.info

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Jiuzhaigou,Sichuan Province,China

Photo from Getty Images

JIU ZHAI GOU

Sichuan Province, China

Jiu Zhai Gou means ‘Nine Village Gully’, and the gorgeous natural wonders here will take your breath away. Just one visit is enough to leave a lasting impression. This natural Y-shaped valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The vast park of about 720 square kilometres offers diverse ecosystems due to variations in altitude. Besides the 140 resident bird species, you can find giant, limestone outcrops, spectacular waterfalls, luminescent pools and stunning views. Jiu Zhai Gou is also home to about 130 ethnic Tibetan families. www.chinatour.com 

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Lake Nakuru,Kenya

Photo from Inmagine

LAKE NAKURU

Kenya

Protected under the Ramsar Convention of sustainability and preservation of international wetlands, Lake Nakuru attracts thousands of pink flamingos that flock to feed on the algae blooming in its waters. The shallow, alkaline lake situated south of Nakuru town, about 156 kilometres north-west of Nairobi, is a habitat for a variety of waterfowl species including the African fish eagle, goliath heron, hamerkop, pied kingfisher and Verreaux’ eagle, as well as other fauna like hippos, giraffes, buffaloes and white and black rhinos. But, the main attraction here remains the thousands of pink flamingos hovering over the azure salt waters of the lake. www.kws.org 

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Uttarakhand, West Himalaya, India,Valley of Flowers National Park

Photo from Getty Images

VALLEY OF FLOWERS NATIONAL PARK

Uttarakhand, West Himalaya, India

In the West Himalayas lie endless meadows in bloom and vast vales of flower beds – a sight to behold that’s definitely worth the 17-kilometre trek to the national park from the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This expansive park is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna that are found only here, including the elusive Blue Himalayan poppy. Rare and endangered animals like the Asiatic black bear, musk deer, snow leopard, brown bear, red fox and blue sheep are also found here. The park along with the rugged mountains of Nanda Devi National Park to the east, offer a unique transition between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and the Great Himalayas. The park spans 87.5 square kilometres, and this reserve has been in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004. The best time to visit is between August and November when the flowers are in full bloom.  www.incredibleindia.org

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Black Hopewell Rocks,New Brunswick,Canada,The Bay of Fundy

Photo from Inmagine

THE BAY OF FUNDY

Canada

Located on the Atlantic coast of North America, this is one of only four places on Earth where extreme oceanic tidal highs and lows occur. The Bay of Fundy sees a vertical rise in sea levels to as high as 17 metres twice a day, which accounts for the more than 100 billion tonnes of seawater rushing in and out of the bay daily, sculpting unique basalt shapes out of the rocks along the coast. During low tide, when sea levels drop, you can see vegetation on the rock tops that dot the coast. And when the waters swell, you may catch sight of whales dancing in the waves! www.bayoffundytourism.com 

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Huacachina,Peru,Peruvian Desert

Photo from Corbis

HUACACHINA

Peruvian Desert

Huacachina is quite possibly the smallest village on the face of the Earth with a population of just over 100 people. This is truly an awe-inspiring place and not a mirage, as some have thought. This little village is built around a natural lush oasis in the otherwise barren Ica region in South-western Peru. There are many legends surrounding the formation of the oasis; one tells of a heartbroken princess whose tears created the lagoon, while another says that it was created when a beautiful princess fled from a hunter who was watching her bathe. According to this tale, the bathing pool turned into this lagoon, and natives believe that the princess still lives in the oasis as a mermaid. Open to tourists all year round, Huacachina has become a famous spot for sand boarding and dune buggy rides. www.visitperu.com 

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Cliffs of Moher,Country Clare,Ireland

Photo from Corbis

CLIFFS OF MOHER

County Clare, Ireland

In the south of the village of Doolin in County Clare, stand the Cliffs of Moher that rise 213 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, stretching along the coast for eight kilometres. It’s no surprise that these majestic cliffs are one of Ireland’s biggest natural tourist attractions, but they also attract Atlantic puffins, razorbills and other wild birds. This wonderment has also attracted Hollywood filmmakers who’ve used this location for movies like The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was also the backdrop for Maroon 5’s music video Runaway and Westlife’s My Love. At the north most point of the cliffs is a lookout tower that provides spectacular views of the Arran Islands, Galway Bay and the Burren of Ireland. www.ireland.com 

From The Magazine, Hit List, Travel 3Sixty, AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Natural Beauty,Cascate del Mulino,Saturnia,Tuscany,Italy

Photo from Inmagine

CASCATE DEL MULINO

Saturnia, Tuscany, Italy

Travellers and tourists almost always seem to miss this little spot just outside of the town of Saturnia, bypassing it to head to the world-renowned spa complex down the road. While the spa complex is wonderful, the steaming hot springs of Cascate del Mulino is nature’s wonder at its best with waters of 37.5 degrees Celsius all year round. These waters cascade over a series of natural pools of varying terrains and levels like a stairwell of piping hot water that soothes and comforts. These thermal springs hold natural sulphurous mineral waters that help ease muscle aches and ailments such as rheumatism and arthritis. www.italia.it/en/home.html


BREATHTAKING BACKDROPS 

PANGONG TSO LAKE, INDIA-CHINA

Deep in the Himalayas at an altitude of 4,350 metres is the Pangong Tso Lake. While disputes over the border area continue between India and China-governed Tibet, it remains a visitor’s haven with a beautiful lake of intense colours. Pangong Tso is reached by a mountain road from the Indian town of Leh, but you will need to obtain a visitor permit through a registered tour guide. www.leh.ind.in/pangong-tso.html 

PULPIT ROCK, PREIKESTOLEN, NORWAY

The rugged cliffs offer spectacular views from a flat rock plateau down to Lysefjord, with no safety railings! This is not a place for those with vertigo, and it would be wise for the daring to keep away from the edge as it plummets 604 metres down. www.visitnorway.com

MUD VOLCANOES OF GOBUSTAN, AZERBAIJAN

Gobustan’s Martian-like landscape is composed of thick grey mud that is constantly spewed from small volcanoes in the area, 65 kilometres south of Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku. It is said that this mud contains medicinal properties, and it’s not uncommon to see visitors strip down to luxuriate in its mucky goodness. www.tourism.az

JEJU ISLAND LAVA TUBES, SOUTH KOREA

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this volcanic island offers scenic mountains, stunning coastal rock formations and one of the world’s finest cave system lava tubes. The Jeju caves are towers of petrified lava, while the Cheju-do cliffs have tube-like formations that are both mind-boggling and awe inspiring. visitkorea.or.kr

 

GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Chengdu from Kuala Lumpur. For flight info and lowest fares, visit www.airasia.com.

Web check-in & print your boarding pass for a seamless flying experience!
Kiosk check-in at klia2 will no longer be available starting 22 June 2014.

FEEL THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF JIU ZHAI GOU VIA CHENGDU!

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